Last night seven of us, friends from grade school who don’t see each other as often as we should, got together for dinner at the Kees’. Well, I say we got together for dinner, but the food hardly mattered. All I remember is the laughing. In fact, we shrieked, giggled and guffawed so long and hard, when we looked at the clock it was 12:22 a.m. Odd thing is, I can’t remember exactly what all we laughed about, although I do recall something about sexting. (Don’t ask!)
The evening started at 7 with Spiced Pear Martinis brought by Susan. Susan was in town visiting her parents who live in a retirement home. That afternoon she had lugged bottles of vodka, liqueur and Prosecco to the Treemont and made martinis in the home’s communal kitchen.
This drink starts with a simple syrup infused with cinnamon, allspice and star anise. Add vodka, top it off with Prosecco and you have a tasty pre-Thanksgiving or fall cocktail. The pear is just subtle and smooth enough to let the cold-weather spices shine through.
I don’t know if the martinis contributed to the hilarity of our dinner, but they certainly didn’t hurt. Oh, and if you heard complaints about assorted hi-jinks and late-night laughter at the Treemont Home Friday night, blame it on that delicious fruit juice the retirees found- and shared- from the second floor fridge.
- 1 cup vodka
- ½ cup pear liqueur
- ½ cup pear nectar
- ½ cup spiced syrup
- 1 bottle Prosecco, champagne or other sparkling wine
- 4 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 3 small pieces fresh ginger (unpeeled is fine)
- ½ vanilla bean or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 30 whole allspice berries
- 20-25 whole cloves
- 6 whole star anise pods
- 2 cups sugar
- 2¾ cup water
- Mix all cocktail ingredients together in a pitcher and divide equally among 8 martini glasses. Top with the Prosecco or sparkling wine and garnish with cinnamon sticks or star anise before serving.
- In a saucepan, simmer all ingredients* on low heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. (If using vanilla extract in place of vanilla bean, add the extract at this point.) Let the mixture steep for a couple of hours, then strain it into a glass container and store in the fridge.
- *Please note that if using vanilla extract, it is added after the syrup has simmered.